About 50 Vietnamese began a hunger strike in two Hong Kong detention camps yesterday to protest against plans to forcibly repatriate thousands of boat people, a Hong Kong government spokesman said.

The two groups will be among the first to be deported under an agreement reached between Britain and Vietnam last Tuesday to send home all Vietnamese not eligible for resettlement. There are 55,700 boat people in the British colony. Of 24,700 screened so far, only 3,600 have been deemed genuine refugees.

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